Culture Culture

03/04/2018 - 07:43

Hoang Sao and stories of colors

Though having heard about him for a long time, not until recently have I had a chance to see, with lots of surprise, photos of Hoang Sao's paintings through a poet. Hoang Sao used to be the owner of Tong Hoi Cafe from 1975 to early 1980s, (pre-1975 headquarters of Student Association.)

Downtown in the Afternoon

Since the closure of the cafe, he had taken many jobs in Hue before leaving his beloved hometown to settle down in Can Tho. After 1975, Hoang Sao was among the first people who collected paintings by famous Hue painters of that time such as Dinh Cuong, Buu Chi, Hoang Dang Nhuan, Duong Dinh Sang, etc.

Without seeing with my own eyes, it is hard to believe a man who teaches himself painting is able to paint in such a prominent style and colors. His art world is full of memories. Not ever a single effort, shapes and colors in him overflow naturally; it is as if his pure feelings, which have been repressed for such a long time, now have a chance to explode on canvas.

The Sun Still Rises

His painting Pho chieu (Downtown in the Afternoon) depicts the golden sky generously sprinkling the sun over flowers with no distinction among colors. Ben song dem (Riverbank at Night) is variations of the golden moon reflected on the river and the bank full of wild flowers. Houses and boats in his memory come onto canvas in a wild color shade.

The painting Nhung manh ghep ky uc (Mosaic of Memory) is drawn with impressive vertical and horizontal   lines. It is like returning to his inner soul beside the oil lamp to listen to the movements of the past in the endless journey to the future.

While Duong chieu la rung (Lane of Falling Leaves in the Afternoon), Bo cuc (Arrangement), Mat troi van moc (The Sun Still Rises), etc. are drawn in the surrealistic and impressionist styles, Pho chieu (Downtown in the Afternoon), Tro ve mai nha xua (Coming back to Old Home), Co don (Loneliness), etc. are cubist. Through the trio Mat troi van moc (The Sun Still Rises), the artist wants to express his notion with colors, shapes and forms.

The Sun Still Rises 3

In the paintings depicting the theme of loneliness, the coloration shows the painter's mood. Such paintings as Den dem (Night Lamp), Co don (Loneliness), Cao nguyen (Highland), Chieu ve tren song (River in the Afternoon), Cau chuyen dong song (Story of River), Cuoc hanh huong mon moi (Pilgrimage), etc. evoke the wilderness and freedom in style. To me, it is real art.

Hoang Sao's paintings are like stories told with colors. Each story evokes in the viewer emotions. It is the painter's success and mission. The rest is reserved for critics.

Mosaic of Memory

The famous painter Klee once said, "Art creates things people never see..." If the painter just draws what the viewer has seen before, the painting is dead. Before an artwork, the real viewer always wants to discover the secret in his own soul.

Hoang Sao's paintings partially illustrate what Paul Klee said.

Story and photos: Le Huynh Lam